Spring Pitch Competition


2024 Spring Pitch logo


The Brinzo Center for Entrepreneurship hosts an annual pitch competition to help grow and nurture student startups within the Ambassador Crawford College's entrepreneurship program each spring. All KSU majors are welcome to apply either individually or as a team. Once selected, eight finalists participate in a mentorship program to prepare for the live pitch event. In total, $20,000 will be awarded at the live Spring Pitch Competition.


1st Place:

Rolling Refreshments, LLC: Audrey Ernst & Vaunden Brunn

2nd Place:

When to Water: Carter Kline



Five students in the Mark&Park group


Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) students Ajeet Kumar Sandela, Nisha Chaurasia, Shefali Gupta, Lokesh Jetangi and Sofiya Ibrayeva will pitch Mark&Park. Mark&Park is a mobile application that utilizes AI and Real-Time camera footage from existing security camera to revolutionize urban parking. It offers instant updates on available spots and personalized navigation, saving time for drivers and optimizing space utilization for parking lot owners.

Nisha Chaurasia
Graduate Student  | Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Shefali Gupta
Graduate Student  | Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Sofiya Ibrayeva
Graduate Student  | Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Lokesh Jetangi
Graduate Student  | Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Ajeet Kumar Sandela
Graduate Student  | Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Students Audrey Ernst and Vaunden Brunn


Senior entrepreneurship majors Audrey Ernst and Vaunden Brunn will pitch Rolling Refreshments. Rolling Refreshments is a gourmet, mobile beverage catering company that specializes in all non-alcoholic drinks such as coffees and mocktails. Via their sleek trailer or charming pushcart, they can effortlessly roll up to any venue and provide a bespoke beverage experience for guests.

Vaunden Brunn
Senior  |  Entrepreneurship

Audrey Ernst
Senior  |  Entrepreneurship

kaitlin philips


MBA student Kaitlyn Phillips will pitch HyAndHook. HyAndHook designs crochet patterns made to inspire the next generation of crafters. But founder Kaitlyn Phillips aims to take this message further by adding a line of business-lifestyle planners targeted toward small crafting ventures. These user-friendly planners will cover goal setting, marketing, production, finances, and more. HyAndHook’s ultimate goal is to distribute the planners in major craft stores. 

Kaitlyn Phillips 
Graduate Student  |  Master of Business Administration 


Mark Virgil


Mark Virgil, a senior business management international exchange student, will pitch Gro Up! The company is a Philippine-based social enterprise that cultivates children’s knowledge and interest in STEM through game-based learning. The company creates fun and affordable gamified educational materials and use a portion of their profit to hold free public workshops, shaping the future of education by making learning enjoyable and accessible for everyone.

Mark Virgil Jamer
Senior  |  Business Management

Brandon Melin


Freshman business management major Brandon Melin will pitch Melin Landscaping, LLC. Melin Landscaping, LLC is a property maintenance and hardscaping company that offers services such as mowing, mulching, power washing, seasonal cleanups, and hardscaping projects. The company is primarily completing work in the cities of Kent, Stow, Hudson, Cuyahoga Falls, and Ravenna. He is also implementing a strategic plan to scale the business and take on more residential and commercial clients. 

Brandon Melin 
Freshman  |  Business Management


Gabi Spigelmire


Gabrielle Spigelmire, a senior entrepreneurship major with a dance minor, will pitch One More Time Dance Boutique. One More Time Dance Boutique is an innovative way to shop for dance attire. One More Time sells both new and second-hand dance clothes, shoes, and accessories. The best part is our mobile boutique comes directly to dance studios! Our vintage camper turned boutique travels right to dancers and helps them find exactly what they need to succeed in their dance classes for low prices.

Gabrielle Spigelmire
Senior  |  Entrepreneurship Major, Dance Minor



Carter Kline


Carter Kline, a senior finance and economics major, will pitch When to Water. When to Water is a patented hanging flower basket hanger that measures the amount of water in the soil to prevent over and under watering, helping the user keep their plants healthy and beautiful all summer long.

Carter Kline
Senior  |  Finance & Economics

Shampa Banerjee

Shampa Banerjee, Ph.D. is a C-suite executive and global leader who transforms and scales businesses through innovative technology and global GTM strategies. With 20+ years of proven success in driving innovation and high growth in VC backed Silicon Valley start-ups and Fortune 100 companies, she has been a powerful change agent for bringing companies fully into the digital realm. She recently co-founded an impact consulting service, SnS Digital Consultants in Silicon Valley, that helps companies that have been left behind accelerate their journey into the digital realm using their best in class technologies and frameworks. She perviously served as EVP at Paramount + and was the Chief Product Officer of Pluto TV, helping the business get to a billion dollars in revenue a year ahead of schedule. She led and grew the streaming service for India's largest film distribution and production house, Eros International (NFLX for Bollywood), establishing their presence in 135 countries. Banerjee earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Kent State University and started her business journey at Netscape/AOL.

Shampa Banerjee
SnS Digital Consultants
KSU Alumna


Michael Capellas ’76 is founder and CEO of Capellas Partners, a strategic technology advisory firm. He serves on the boards of Flex (Chair), Cisco (Independent Lead Director), and the BeautyHealth Company. He also serves on the Board of privately held OnSolve and NumberOne AI.

Michael Capellas 
Founder and CEO
Capellas Partners
KSU Alumnus, '76


Renee dolan

A vibrant force in Cleveland's business landscape, Reneé Deluca Dolan is a respected figure among the city's top CEOs and industry leaders by day. Come evening, she swaps her professional hat for running shoes and a chef's apron. An outdoor enthusiast, she savors hikes and runs with her dogs, never misses her son's sports events, and, much to her family's delight, handles the cooking duties at home. Her entrepreneurial spirit, combined with a passion for empowering women in business, led to the creation of the Female Entrepreneur Summit, a yearly event enriching the journey of Northeast Ohio's businesswomen, An ardent networker, Renee spearheaded Cleveland Business Connects magazine for a decade, and launched the CBC magazine Connectors Choice Awards to applaud Cleveland's special events professionals. As a distinguished alumna of Kent State University, she contributes to the Business Advisory Board and has been honored with a Spirit of Women in Business Award. Renee's diverse passions include running, wine appreciation, and volunteering for Northeast Ohio Adoption Services.

Reneé Deluca Dolan
Entrepreneur & Industry Leader
KSU Alumna


Arthur karas

Arthur Karas, president of C&K Industrial Services, is a recognized leader in the industrial and environmental service industries. As a senior executive and experienced industry professional, he provides leadership, insight and innovative solutions for his clients in these fields. His firms provide a myriad of specialized services for industry and community infrastructures.

Arthur Karas
C&K Industrial Services




The John S. and Marlene J. Brinzo Center for Entrepreneurship immerses students in entrepreneurship education and experiences, advances entrepreneurial research and nurtures regional outreach.

Learn more about The center


ACCBE Seal - Person Not Pictured

Linda Hale - Marketing Manager of The Brinzo Center

Phone: 330-672-7890
Email: lhale9@kent.edu 


Shawn rohlin

Shawn Rohlin Ph.D. - Director of The Brinzo Center, Professor of Economics

Phone: 330-672-1098
Email: srohlin@kent.edu


nick Petrella

Nick Petrella - Entrepreneur in Residence

Phone: 330-672-5826
Email: npetrel3@kent.edu